Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

I have never been a huge fan of cauliflower. I have tried various ways to cook this vegetable and have always felt so-so about it. However, last week I was in Downtown Las Vegas and visited VegeNation. I have come to frequent this restaurant whenever I am in the area. This last time I was there, I decided to try their buffalo cauliflower wings, and they were really, really good! So good, that I attempted to recreate them sans the ranch dressing.

 

I found several recipes to be similar give or take a few minor changes. I decided to make some changes by creating a thicker batter consistency, adding cayenne pepper, and baking longer. I wanted wings similar to VegeNation, but slightly more breaded. I really enjoyed how this recipe turned out.

This recipe can be made gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan. If you’re a huge meat eater looking for something different to try, they won’t taste similar to traditional wings. However, these wings have a pleasant texture and are a great non-meat option to try. This is mainly because they are slightly crisp on the outside and super tender on the inside.

They’re also pretty spicy and are a great substitute for unhealthy junk foods because they’re baked. I made them for my snacking-prone husband, and he was pretty satisfied. Additionally, if you do not like spicy foods, you can replace the hot sauce for a barbecue sauce.

The overall cook time is about 1 hour and 10 minutes. This recipe yields about 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

For Wings

  • 1 head of cauliflower (washed and separated into bite-sized florets)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (substitute with rice flour for gluten-free wings)
  • ½ cup almond milk (or any vegan milk option)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional but great for additional spice)

For Buffalo Wing Sauce 

  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (Frank’s RedHot is a classic. I used an off-brand)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon vegan butter spread

Instructions:

Cauliflower Wings Preparation

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease baking sheet. Next, wash and cut and/or hand separate cauliflower head into bite-sized florets.

Combine the flour, milk, water, and spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together under the batter is smooth. The batter should be thick enough to coat the cauliflower without falling off. Add more water/flour to the batter as needed.

You have two options for battering the cauliflower. You can individually dip the florets or you can dip them in batches. I tried dipping them one by one but found the batch method to be easier while yielding the same results. If you choose the batch method, place a handful of florets in the batter and ensure to thoroughly coat. Next, shake off excess batter from each floret and place them in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Note: Excessive amounts of batter will stick to the sheet and make it more difficult to remove the wings.

 

1st Cauliflower Wings Bake

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. I suggest flipping the florets half-way through to ensure an even, crispy bake.

Buffalo Wing Sauce Preparation

As your cauliflower bakes, you can start making the buffalo wing sauce. Melt the butter spread in a small saucepan. Once melted, remove from stove and add hot sauce. Stir together and place aside until you are ready to coat the florets for their second bake.

2nd Cauliflower Wings Bake

When the cauliflower has finished its first bake, remove them from the oven and let sit until they are slightly cool to the touch (a few minutes). Place the baked florets in a large mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss until they are evenly coated. Place the coated florets back on the sheet, and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until a desired level of crispiness is achieved.

Serve with whatever dipping sauces you prefer or enjoy by themselves. I used tahini and tzatziki sauce.

Lastly, the outer leaves and thick stalks of a cauliflower are edible! To minimize my food waste, I saved the leaves and stalks. I will be using the stalks for a vegetable broth, and I plan to bake the leaves for a kale-like chip. Does anyone have any other recommendations for utilizing these parts of a cauliflower?

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Enjoy!

-Skye

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